A Utopia is a perfect, idealistic society, the opposition to a dystopian environment. A world where ‘inhabitants exist under seemingly perfect conditions […] utopian and utopianism are words used to denote visionary reform that tends to be impossibly idealistic’ (britannica).
More’s Utopia (1516)
The termed was first penned by Sir Thomas Moore in Utopia, which tells the tale of More, an ambassador for King Henry VIII, Giles, his friend, and Raphael Hythloday, a philosopher and world traveler. A conversation strikes up between the three men and Hythloday describes a society ‘based on rational thought, with communal property, great productivity, no rapacious love of gold, no real class distinctions, no poverty, little crime or immoral behavior, religious tolerance, and little inclination to war. It is a society that Hythloday believes is superior to any in Europe’ (Sparknotes) and constrasts greatly with the the brutality of life in sixteenth century England.
Metropolis is an early example of how a future Utopian society was envisioned (and is a film I studied during one of my English Literature degree moduels).It incoroporates both a utopian and dsytopian society. Utopia is, of course, reserved for the wealthy, who enjoy a life of leisure and luxury in magnificiant complexes above the ground, ‘while a lower class of underground-dwelling workers toil constantly to operate the machines that provide its power’ (wikipedia).
While browsing the web (as you do) to research this topic, I found a few websites of interest and so I’m going to list them here as a handy reference (for both myself, and perhaps you, the reader of this post):
The Society for Utopian Studies (which has a great resource section)
The Amana Colonies (utopian experiments in the early United States)